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71-year-old Army veteran graduates from high school 52 years later

A 71-year-old army veteran is preparing for his high school graduation after missing his 1964 graduation, as he was called, one day, he is now regretting missing for decades.

Dave Shuker attended Abraham Lincoln High School in the early 1960’s. After his last year, he decided to enlist in the army to ease the financial burden on his family.

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“I made the decision to go to make things easier on my family, make things easier for my brothers and sisters. The best for all of us,” said Shuker. “[They] didn’t have to support me and give me lunch money every day and that kind of stuff. It takes a financial toll on people.”

He spent part of his time in the army in Germany, stationed along the Berlin wall.

“It was scary. You would hear gunshots in the middle of the night. You want to hear the landmines going every once in a while. It was scary. Especially if you are 17 years old,” said Shuker.

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While he was abroad, his mind wandered back to Colorado and the events that he missed.

“I lay there in the evening to think about it. Thinking about my buddies all the walking down the aisle and get their diplomas,” said Shuker. “No class ring, no letter jacket. That’s all you miss. You really miss it. And you think about it.”

While he his GED in the army, he never received a high school diploma. And while he does not regret his time in the army, are the lack of a high school diploma has weighed on him all these years.

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“All the kids I went to school with all those years that I sat on the Berlin Wall, here they were, marching down the aisle. Was not good. But it is in the past and I have to live with it,” said Shuker.

Now, thanks to a program called Operation Recognition, Shuker will receive the 1964 diploma in addition to the Abraham Lincoln High School Class of 2017. Operation Recognition provides veterans older than 60 years of a chance to get a diploma if they left high school early to call.

Read more on FOX 31 Denver.

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